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How To Notice Signs Of Emotional Abuse

Richardson Richardson Boudreaux, PLLC

Each year hundreds of older adults, or elderly adults, are abused, neglected, and exploited. Many victims are people who are vulnerable and depend on caregivers to meet their most basic needs. Abusers of older adults are both women and men. They may be family members, friends or “trusted others.”

What is Emotional Elder Abuse?

Emotional elder abuse, also known as psychological neglect, is a form of verbal and nonverbal abuse that inflicts emotional pain, anguish, or distress on an older adult. Emotional elder abuse is almost always accompanied by another form of abuse, such as physical abuse. The abuse can range from a simple verbal insult to an extreme form of verbal punishment.

It may be difficult to take some of the signs of elder abuse seriously or they may appear to be symptoms of dementia. In fact, an abusive caregiver may explain away signs of abuse as part of dementia. Your loved one may display one, or more, of the following behaviors which indicate they are being subjected to emotional abuse:

  • Sudden low self esteem.
  • Avoids eye contact.
  • Doesn’t speak openly.
  • Appears hopeless, disturbed, or scared.
  • Sudden change in outgoingness
  • Displays a desire to hurt themselves or others.
  • Dramatic changes in sleeping or eating patterns.
  • Sudden mood swings.
  • Unusual behavior attributed to dementia (e.g., sucking, biting, rocking).
  • A verbal report from the victim of the abuse.

Additionally, you may notice dramatic changes in the relationship between your loved one and the caregiver:

  • Caregiver prevents the person from acting or making their own decisions.
  • Caregiver fails ignores requests of assistance or is slow to respond to requests.
  • Caregiver prevents contact with others including social visits and phone calls.
  • Caregiver does not allow social or group interactions.

Victims of Emotional Elder Abuse Deserve Compensation

No one should be the victim of abuse, especially adults who depend on their caregivers. If you are concerned that someone you love is the victim of emotional elder emotional abuse, contact the Tulsa nursing home abuse and neglect attorneys at Richardson Richardson Boudreaux.